Flagstaff leaders propose flooding solutions, but need $140 million in funding

The Flood Control District board of directors met to discuss their long-term solutions regarding flooding in Flagstaff.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 7:38 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 8:28 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Flooding concerns continue to be top of mind as rain may be headed to the high country Wednesday. Leaders say they have a plan to help fix it, but one thing is stopping them. The Flood Control District board of directors met Tuesday morning to discuss their long-term solutions regarding the flooding. They say they need nearly $140 million from the state and federal governments to make it happen.

“Weary would be a really good word for what the majority of the people who live around here are right now,” said Rob Wilson, who has lived in the Timberline area in Flagstaff for 20 years.

Wilson says he and his neighbors are on pins and needles every time rain is in the forecast. “At our house, I’ve had to armor my driveway with ten cubic yards of concrete and a bunch of rocks because it was going to get washed out otherwise,” Wilson said. He’s one of many living in Flagstaff dealing with ongoing flooding problems.

The board’s primary focus is addressing flooding in the Schultz and Pipeline Flood areas. “We’ve had nine watersheds impacted by this Pipeline Fire,” said Lucinda Andreani, flood control district administrator with Coconino County.

Andreani describes their three priorities to fix the problem. “On-forest watershed restoration measures. Those are really key to this whole integrated mitigation system,” she said This means fixing watersheds that have been destroyed so they can limit the amount of sediment going into the neighborhoods.

“Second is flood mitigation in the neighborhoods, and third is highway drainage improvements to Highway 89 and 180,” said Andreani. This includes adding concrete channels in neighborhoods to help with water flow and adding detention basins to collect sediment.

“Without that funding, there isn’t a lot more we can do at this point because we can’t really afford to invest a great deal in the engineering if we don’t know we will have the capacity to move forward and construct those projects,” she said.

For people like Wilson, he hopes there is a solution sooner than later. “A lot of us have had to invest our own resources and time and labor to do our best to try and protect against mother nature, and she certainly has the upper hand,” Wilson said.

Andreani says they are waiting for state and federal funds. She says the congressional delegation is crucial in helping get the money. She hopes they will act before the end of the year to include the funding they need for these projects.

In the meantime, to stay in the loop with these developments, you can visit the Schultz/Pipeline Flood Area website. You can also sign up for email updates.